Empirical Support for Psychology in Malaysia

Meg Milligan, Michael McCormick, Yee Siew Lim


The Malaysian Journal of Psychology/Jurnal Psikologi Malaysia (1985-present) is the flagship outlet for psychological research in Malaysia. While considerable progress has been made in the development of psychology as a field in Malaysia, including psychological research, few studies have examined the relative contributions from different divisions or assessed diversity and inclusion in other areas. Issues published online between 2008 and 2022 containing 315 research articles were examined and coded into divisions using the taxonomy provided by the American Psychological Association (APA). Personality and Social Psychology (Division 8) was identified as the most frequently researched area, followed by Clinical/Counseling Psychology (Division 12/17). Underrepresented specializations included Division 5 (Quantitative and Qualitative Methods) and Division 6 (Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology), among others. The majority of articles were survey/questionnaire-based correlational studies (63.8%), followed by archival analyses (13.4%), interviews (13%), and experimental designs (7.3%). Articles focused primarily on adult populations and were adequately powered. Two-thirds of first authors were female and most papers (67.6%) were first authored by a Malay ethnic researcher, followed by Chinese (13%) and Indian (6.7%), which reflects the current ethnic distribution in Malaysia (69.9%, 22.8%, 6.6%, statista.com). Recommendations for the further development of psychology in Malaysia are included. 

Keywords:  JPM, APA, psychology in Malaysia, research

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